Stations of the cross, True fans and micro-training classes

Did you ever live out in the country in Ireland and they’d have the Stations of the Cross in a house and the whole community would come along? People from the parish or the catchment area would show up and belt out the old tunes of Hail Mary. Act of Contritions and Our Fathers and then once ended the real fun would begin with the socialising afterwards. The women would have all these great sandwiches made and all sorts of baked goods ripe for the munching, there’d be tea and coffee and maybe a “drop” for some of the men. News would be exchanged, stories retold, introductions made if there were new people there and an almost knife fight to be the next house to do them. Ahh country life. I actually kind of enjoyed them apart from that god stuff. It’s a very interesting way of getting a community together and socialising and not one pub was needed.

I got thinking of this due to Kevin “Cool Tool”s Kelly. Kevin has written an inspiring blog post about the idea that an artist or musician or writer could survive by having just 1000 fans but these would be “true fans”. The loyal fans would would spend a days salary on you over a year. It’s taking the idea of the long tail (hype hype) and moving away from the end but not hugely towards the top. It brings you to a point where you can get a regular or safe enough income from people who know you and regularly support you from the liking your work and that working the room or the circuit enough to get these 1000 could be enough for most people to be able to do what they love and remain comfortable.

kevin quain & the mad bastards
Photo owned by Karlina – as things are… (cc)

He points to Danny O’Brien too who talked about being at a house concert and it’s an interesting concept. An up and coming or maybe slightly established musician plays your house. You are her mini-patron in a way. 40 people at most coming to your house party. She plays, everyone loves her music, they might go beyond getting turned into a fan and maybe turn into a true fan or an evangelist. As the person that organised the house party you get attention and adoration from people who might never have experienced this person before. Maybe they’ll buy five cds off her there and then.

Kevin Kelly’s essay is probably going to inspire many blog posts from me alone on this concept and you can see from the comments on his post that it could very well turn into a book judging by the feedback and examples he’d collecting. It made me think of something else though. The ideas of BarCamps and the ShareIT experiment I tried and the offers of free blog training in Cork and Dublin are nice ways of meeting people and sharing but they could still be friendlier. The banter after is always better and more information can be exchanged too after.

I really wonder could you do the idea of a house training session. Do some simple training sessions for an hour with a group of people and then socialise afterwards. Kind of like the Help Yourself idea but in someone’s sitting room. With apple tart. And ham sandwiches with mustard. Or lentils with mustard. 🙂 This would be very basic stuff obviously and would be geared to people who have not been to a session before. Am sure there’s all sorts of legalities with public liability insurance or some such thing too. I’d love to try it out though. Oh and it would have to pay. The trainer gets some money and those attending pay but also have to chip in for the catering.

What do you think?

16 Responses to “Stations of the cross, True fans and micro-training classes”

  1. John says:

    Eeww, Ham & Mustard….lets try Ham & Mayonnaise and we have a deal….Great Idea…I have a couple of 21st coming up so thats a possibility…….*ponders*

  2. roosta says:

    I really wonder could you do the idea of a house training session. Do some simple training sessions for an hour with a group of people and then socialise afterwards.

    I think its a great idea. Just last week I was thinking, wouldn’t it be great if there was a kind of CraigsList/DAFT for sharing skills. I was using the pen tool in illustrator and realised its the one part of Photoshop/Illustrator i’ve always wished i had better training in. Would’nt it be great if i could pop up an add online asking if someone could come round my gaff and show me and in return i could pay them OR teach them a skill.

  3. Darragh says:

    Hi Damien, great post.

    One of the most interesting talks at the Kilkenny Creative Camp was about The Attic Studio, which is a group of people – in this case involved in the acting industry in Ireland – coming together in their own space, being made feel welcome and sharing a cup of tea and a chat before they get on with their training, business and collaborations.

    It seems to be the personal, non-corporate approach which works best. They’re all in the same boat, into the same thing, passionate about what they do and want to help each other achieve similar goals.

    I wrote a VERY long post about the entire day but basically the things I took from the talk were:

    Creating a community that appeals to people’s interests, that brings out their passions and that gets people involved is one of those web nirvanas, and this was certainly as close as I’ve ever seen it. The four top things I took from it were:

    * The invitation – people are invited to join, which ensures people who will contribute to the community are included and people feel good about their membership

    * The welcome – no one is left out. Newcomers are integrated and welcomed in a joint exercise for which a number of people have responsibility, not just the administrator.

    * The personalisation – the site features photos of the members – making them feel involved. It validates their membership of the community.

    * The follow-up – what’s discussed is put online as quickly as possible to allow people to continue the conversation, allowing the link between off- and on-line to be strengthened.

    Godin talks about this a lot, as does Fergal Quinn in his book Crowning the Customer.

    There’s a great need now for more and more companies/businesses/artists/people to communicate on a personal level about the things they want to share. Over a cuppa (and the apple tart) is as good a way as any!

  4. Peter Knight says:

    BTW – House concerts are great. We did this a few times over the years and it’s such a great setting to see and hear musicians you like. Generally, someone who was playing Whelans would have a ‘night off’, come round and play a set, stay and chat and we’d even put them up. Word of mouth meant we had very different audiences every time and everyone threw a few pounds into the pot. It was ‘win-win’ and they’d sell lots of CDs direct to the audience.
    It’s very popular in the US and the Boston music scene is where it started I think.

  5. Elana says:

    That is really a great idea. I’d host one…

  6. Isitjustme? says:

    Sounds fantastic!…I’ll make Gaspacho and tiramisu.

  7. Alexia says:

    I think it’s an inspired idea. How many times have you attended a discussion and at the end of it thought, I wish I could continue on? I have. Lots of times.

    I find that once people get past the intro stage, the real meat of the comms happens. Perhaps a more informal way of doing training or talks could kick off fresh conversations. Having it in a home or out-of-hours at a neutral venue would be cool. Cuts across red-tape.

    While it’s all great concept, we could sit here and talk about it lots. I’d like to see this in action. Micro-training as proposed here will live or die in the community. Unless people (plural here!) get off their behinds and start some of these events (music or whatever), the idea will remain nice, tidy and pretty but still an airy-fairy ideal.

  8. sean says:

    Sounds intersting what topics would you suggest get covered ? and at what level?

  9. Johnny says:

    Note to self – write more on this as I plan to kick these off with artists in the summer – back garden type affairs – weather permitting. Promote on downloadmusic (see no link as I don’t want to abuse ‘the system’).

  10. John says:

    This is very much the model employed by traditional Irish musicians over the years (granted, the technical term that they use is”going back to a house for a few more tunes and another gallon of hooch”)

  11. Neville Gawley says:

    Not too dissimilar to the ‘Travelling Houses’ idea where the party would move week to week between various houses in a locality. Music, dancing, drink and cards which of course the priesthood didn’t like as they feared there was too much socialising going on and so we ended up with the Dance Hall Acts of 1935 which require you to have a dance license.
    (oh and the government was worried that the proceeds were being used to fund the IRA)

  12. Trinity says:

    Cool idea, but hopefully it won’t be like this ejit from Southill in Limerick…
    and there’s a bit in the Examiner as well about the Gardai foiling his attempts:)

  13. Oz says:

    There’s a sad story that has to be told to get to my point, but can just ignore that bit.

    My aunties and uncles are fans of one John Spillane, a great Irish troubadour. Real story-telling to music stuff. He’s great. My uncle, Frank, was due to see him in a gig somewhere with two of his sisters and one of his brothers but just before it came up his liver cancer – which was being contained at the time – took off and he was incapacitated. His siblings went to see the show and wouldn’t shut up about how great it was. Frank, meanwhile, has one of Spillane’s CDs with him in hospital. One of the attending uncles, Eoin, had a great idea that we would have a family session as we normally do, but we would ask Spillane to go a concert for us before.

    So there we were, holding a concert in our uncle’s house (he had moved home to die), circled around what would be his death bed, singing along to the bits we knew and appropriating Spillane’s musicality to jam with our rendition of “Viva la quinta brigada”. In fairness to him, Spillane offered to do it for free but Eoin refused, himself being a gigging badmember and understanding the need for Spillane to make a living.

    It was a great concert and didn’t cost too much. It was an unforgettable experience and it totally delighted Frank: apparently it was all he talked about the next day, as if seeing his smile and his singing along and applause weren’t enough to tell (he was barely strong enough to lift a glass to his mouth at this stage). It made a real, postive, tangible difference to his last days. Fair play to Spillane, and thanks again if you’re ever reading this.

    So yeah. Private concerts are a great idea 😀

  14. Darren says:

    Oz, what a great story. And fair play to Spillane. I first heard him supporting Juliet Turner a couple of years ago and was an immediate fan. He was so personable, funny and kind, as is obvious from your story.

  15. Julian says:

    When the press & others ask why we maintain a blog, I tend to trot out something about its being one way to narrow the gap that Progress has opened between buyer and seller, and to make the properly human business of commerce as human again as possible, &c. &c., because I think this is an ideal to pursue. It’s not always easy or pleasant to deal direct with your fellow man, but it’s definitely for the greater good. The house training idea is spot on, and the musical version something that should be done much more often, though beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing before you open your house. And I’ll pass on the John Spillane story. That was more than decent.

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